Life, death and the afterlife

15th Jun 2016

It's been tremendously hard for me and my siblings but especially for mom what we've been through. The whole process has been very fast and wearing. It wasn't more than three months ago that I could talk to my father before he felt sick and we could go to the market and watch television. Then he got really bad, really bad and we started going to the hospital where he got institutionalized and after that diagnosed with cancer. The speed in which his sickness developed didn't even let him enjoy his last weeks of sanity.

I think of mom. I hadn't seen love in action until I saw her taking care of him in the way that she did. Love is not romance but caring about someone else's well-being for nothing. That thing you hear sometimes on weddings:

I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honour you all the days of my life.

She has honoured her vows with an astonishing level of stoicism. That alone is a legacy for me and all of us who've met my dad.

At the same time it has been a time of suffering for them and that makes it a truly necessary farewell. My dad survived physically but he wasn't really living his life anymore. That led me to think one day that I had lost him already. I was wrong, though.

The fact that so many people remind him made me think of one thing that I want to share with you. My father was a man who may not have been a bible scholar or the most consistent believer, let alone a religious fanatic but he did care about others in a way that made him memorable for so many people that I don't even know about. He left on almost everyone of you a legacy and in doing so he remains with us.

He stays with me in all the things he did to make me happy, in all the things he did that bothered me. He saw that I liked to read things and even though he wasn't an avid reader himself he brought me so many books that I eventually loved books. He even asked me not long ago if I wanted to write a book. He also managed to find books in English for me. I always wanted a English dictionary, I thought of buying one online but I didn't have the money and one day he unexpectedly brought me one and gave it to me. It was old however, it was even better than the one I wanted.

That's actually something that I envy about him and that I expect to reach eventually before I die. I don't think that his dead body in the coffin is him. What I do believe is that he still exists in the memories of everyone of you and our family. That's what is for me the actual afterlife. Rather than imagination, religion or poetry it's something real and concrete.

So when we reach the death of someone else we reach the end of a stage but not the end of their existence. The end of their existence is the end of their legacy.